30 June, 2012

The Ultimate Heresy

Bastardising Tolkien

Now, I love both The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings. The Hobbit, as is popularly stated, makes for a great DnD setting. However, Rings doesn't. The reasons are many, but mostly it's because you either need to pick some point far back in history, or some point after the whole thing. If you pick a point in time during the book, you end up as some minor player on the edge of Important but Precarious Events. If the DM doesn't railroad you, you really end up railroading yourself, one way or another. It's all good for an MMO (I enjoy that game) but sucks for DnD. Oh, and picking a point after the book? There's not much excitement there, since the overarching ultimate pervasive goal of the entire trilogy is to remove the violent dramatic excitement. See, that's a bad setup goal for DnD. You don't want your goal to be Make Things Boring.

So now what? Time to fiddle about. For my purposes, the trilogy is related by Samwise. He is a well-meaning, sentimental, unreliable narrator. He is pretty upset that his best friend died in what turned out to be a boondoggle. Instead of being bitter, he writes a view of what he wishes happened.

The Changes So Far:
Gandalf was a mid-level magic-user, not a divine being. When he bit it in Moria, that was it for him.
Aragorn wasn't really a prince.
Boromir didn't have a noble change of heart at the last second. The Ring was too strong for that.
Throwing the ring into the lava didn't do shit.
Faramir fried in a fire.


Chris said...

You've read The Last Ringbearer by Kiril Eskov I presume? Bit revisionist (Mordor are the good guys, and LOTR was victor's history), but fun.

Stefan Poag said...

I think for one of our early campaigns, I photocopied the map out of the "Lord of the Rings" and then used white-out to replace the names --- bang, new campaign. The names probably sucked-ass, but I think it was a long time before anyone discovered I had just stolen the map --- and that was because they saw it and recognized it. I think I just plopped all the adventures I had all over the place more or less at random and used wandering monster tables a lot.

ClawCarver said...

Not precisely on topic, but your post reminded me of a game of MERP I played in, oh, 24 years ago, at my university RPG society. It was GMed by Rob, a good friend of mine. Much alcohol was consumed before and during the session. I recall only fragments: Elrond was killed by an orc with a hand grenade. Someone got changed into a carrot. We travelled to the Seven Seas of Rhye, in a helicopter gunship we got from (I think) Hunt Emerson's Thunderdogs. When the helicopter exploded, my hobbit parachuted to safety using his magic hat. There was definitely a bit when Rob was GMing while lying on the floor under the table. At one point, the society's president came over to our table to see what all the mayhem was. He thought we were playing Toon. When he realised the truth, he accused us of (these were his exact words) "debasing Tolkien's legacy." Much as I love the Prof's works, I'll always be proud of that.